Celebrating 18 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY ®
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index A > Category: Attack

Attack Quotes (41 quotes)

A theoretical physicist can spend his entire lifetime missing the intellectual challenge of experimental work, experiencing none of the thrills and dangers — the overhead crane with its ten-ton load, the flashing skull and crossbones and danger, radioactivity signs. A theorist’s only real hazard is stabbing himself with a pencil while attacking a bug that crawls out of his calculations.
In Leon Lederman and Dick Teresi, The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question (1993), 15.
Science quotes on:  |  Bug (10)  |  Calculation (98)  |  Challenge (61)  |  Crawling (2)  |  Danger (78)  |  Experiment (600)  |  Hazard (15)  |  Intellect (188)  |  Lifetime (28)  |  Pencil (17)  |  Radioactivity (28)  |  Theoretical Physicist (12)  |  Thrill (19)

An infinity of these tiny animals defoliate our plants, our trees, our fruits... they attack our houses, our fabrics, our furniture, our clothing, our furs ... He who in studying all the different species of insects that are injurious to us, would seek means of preventing them from harming us, would seek to cause them to perish, proposes for his goal important tasks indeed.
In J. B. Gough, 'Rene-Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur', in Charles Gillispie (ed.), Dictionary of Scientific Biography (1975), Vol. 11, 332.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (356)  |  Clothing (10)  |  Difference (246)  |  Fabric (14)  |  Fruit (70)  |  Fur (6)  |  Furniture (8)  |  Goal (100)  |  Harm (37)  |  House (43)  |  Importance (216)  |  Infinity (72)  |  Injury (21)  |  Insect (64)  |  Means (171)  |  Perish (29)  |  Plant (199)  |  Prevention (30)  |  Proposition (80)  |  Seeking (31)  |  Species (220)  |  Study (461)  |  Task (83)  |  Tiny (36)  |  Tree (170)

Any frontal attack on ignorance is bound to fail because the masses are always ready to defend their most precious possession: their ignorance.
Quote appears in Henry Wysham Lanier, The Golden Book Magazine (Feb 1933), 17, 10.
Science quotes on:  |  Bound (15)  |  Defend (29)  |  Fail (58)  |  Ignorance (213)  |  Mass (78)  |  Possession (45)  |  Precious (31)  |  Ready (37)

Are the worst enemies of society those who attack it or those who do not even give themselves the trouble of defending it?
From original French, “Les pires ennemis de la société sont-ils ceux qui l'attaquent ou ceux qui ne se donnent même pas la peine de la défendre?” in Psychologie du Socialisme (1898), 61. English in The Psychology of Socialism (1899), 52.
Science quotes on:  |  Defend (29)  |  Enemy (63)  |  Society (227)  |  Trouble (72)  |  Worst (18)  |  Worst Enemy (3)

Committees are dangerous things that need most careful watching. I believe that a research committee can do one useful thing and one only. It can find the workers best fitted to attack a particular problem, bring them together, give them the facilities they need, and leave them to get on with the work. It can review progress from time to time, and make adjustments; but if it tries to do more, it will do harm.
Attributed.
Science quotes on:  |  Adjustment (15)  |  Belief (503)  |  Best (172)  |  Bring (90)  |  Careful (24)  |  Committee (15)  |  Dangerous (60)  |  Facility (11)  |  Find (405)  |  Fitted (2)  |  Harm (37)  |  Leave (127)  |  Need (283)  |  Particular (75)  |  Problem (490)  |  Progress (362)  |  Research (589)  |  Review (8)  |  Time (594)  |  Together (77)  |  Try (141)  |  Useful (98)  |  Watching (10)  |  Work (626)

Debate is an art form. It is about the winning of arguments. It is not about the discovery of truth. There are certain rules and procedures to debate that really have nothing to do with establishing fact–which creationists have mastered. Some of those rules are: never say anything positive about your own position because it can be attacked, but chip away at what appear to be the weaknesses in your opponent’s position. They are good at that. I don’t think I could beat the creationists at debate. I can tie them. But in courtrooms they are terrible, because in courtrooms you cannot give speeches. In a courtroom you have to answer direct questions about the positive status of your belief. We destroyed them in Arkansas. On the second day of the two-week trial we had our victory party!
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Answer (249)  |  Appear (115)  |  Argument (81)  |  Arkansas (2)  |  Art (284)  |  Beat (23)  |  Belief (503)  |  Certain (125)  |  Chip (4)  |  Creationist (15)  |  Debate (24)  |  Destroy (80)  |  Direct (82)  |  Discovery (676)  |  Establish (55)  |  Fact (725)  |  Form (308)  |  Give (200)  |  Good (345)  |  Master (93)  |  Nothing (385)  |  Opponent (11)  |  Party (18)  |  Position (75)  |  Positive (43)  |  Procedure (24)  |  Question (404)  |  Really (78)  |  Rule (173)  |  Say (228)  |  Second (59)  |  Speech (46)  |  Status (20)  |  Terrible (19)  |  Think (341)  |  Tie (23)  |  Trial (28)  |  Truth (914)  |  Victory (29)  |  Weakness (35)  |  Win (38)

During this [book preparation] time attacks have not been wanting—we must always be prepared for them. If they grow out of a scientific soil, they cannot but be useful, by laying bare weak points and stimulating to their correction; but if they proceed from that soil, from which the lilies of innocence and the palms of conciliation should spring up, where, however, nothing but the marsh-trefoil of credulity and the poisonous water-hemlock of calumniation grow, they deserve no attention.
Carl Vogt
From Carl Vogt and James Hunt (ed.), Lectures on Man: His Place in Creation, and in the History of the Earth (1861), Author's Preface, 2-3.
Science quotes on:  |  Attention (115)  |  Correction (31)  |  Credulity (11)  |  Deserving (4)  |  Innocence (10)  |  Lily (4)  |  Palm (5)  |  Poison (34)  |  Stimulation (14)  |  Weakness (35)

ENGINEER, in the military art, an able expert man, who, by a perfect knowledge in mathematics, delineates upon paper, or marks upon the ground, all sorts of forts, and other works proper for offence and defence. He should understand the art of fortification, so as to be able, not only to discover the defects of a place, but to find a remedy proper for them; as also how to make an attack upon, as well as to defend, the place. Engineers are extremely necessary for these purposes: wherefore it is requisite that, besides being ingenious, they should be brave in proportion. When at a siege the engineers have narrowly surveyed the place, they are to make their report to the general, by acquainting him which part they judge the weakest, and where approaches may be made with most success. Their business is also to delineate the lines of circumvallation and contravallation, taking all the advantages of the ground; to mark out the trenches, places of arms, batteries, and lodgments, taking care that none of their works be flanked or discovered from the place. After making a faithful report to the general of what is a-doing, the engineers are to demand a sufficient number of workmen and utensils, and whatever else is necessary.
In Encyclopaedia Britannica or a Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (1771), Vol. 2, 497.
Science quotes on:  |  Advantage (73)  |  Arms (3)  |  Brave (5)  |  Defect (15)  |  Defence (6)  |  Delineate (2)  |  Engineer (97)  |  Expert (50)  |  Fort (2)  |  Fortification (6)  |  General (156)  |  Ingenious (25)  |  Knowledge (1293)  |  Mathematics (1149)  |  Military (29)  |  Necessary (147)  |  Offence (4)  |  Remedy (54)  |  Survey (20)  |  Trench (4)  |  Utensil (2)  |  Workman (13)

Experience hobbles progress and leads to abandonment of difficult problems; it encourages the initiated to walk on the shady side of the street in the direction of experiences that have been pleasant. Youth without experience attacks the unsolved problems which maturer age with experience avoids, and from the labors of youth comes progress. Youth has dreams and visions, and will not be denied.
From speech 'In the Time of Henry Jacob Bigelow', given to the Boston Surgical Society, Medalist Meeting (6 Jun 1921). Printed in Journal of the Medical Association (1921), 77, 599.
Science quotes on:  |  Abandon (48)  |  Age (174)  |  Avoid (52)  |  Denial (14)  |  Difficult (116)  |  Direction (74)  |  Dream (165)  |  Encouragement (18)  |  Experience (338)  |  Initiated (2)  |  Labor (71)  |  Mature (10)  |  Pleasant (20)  |  Problem (490)  |  Progress (362)  |  Street (23)  |  Unsolved (10)  |  Vision (94)  |  Walk (67)  |  Youth (75)

Fleets are not confined to the ocean, but now sail over the land. … All the power of the British Navy has not been able to prevent Zeppelins from reaching England and attacking London, the very heart of the British Empire. Navies do not protect against aerial attack. … Heavier-than-air flying machines of the aeroplane type have crossed right over the heads of armies, of million of men, armed with the most modern weapons of destruction, and have raided places in the rear. Armies do not protect against aerial war.
In 'Preparedness for Aerial Defense', Addresses Before the Eleventh Annual Convention of the Navy League of the United States, Washington, D.C., April 10-13, 1916 (1916), 70.
Science quotes on:  |  Aerial (5)  |  Airplane (38)  |  Army (25)  |  England (38)  |  Fleet (4)  |  Flying Machine (10)  |  London (12)  |  Navy (9)  |  Ocean (148)  |  Protection (25)  |  Raid (4)  |  War (161)  |  Weapon (66)  |  Zeppelin (4)

I do not forget that Medicine and Veterinary practice are foreign to me. I desire judgment and criticism upon all my contributions. Little tolerant of frivolous or prejudiced contradiction, contemptuous of that ignorant criticism which doubts on principle, I welcome with open arms the militant attack which has a method of doubting and whose rule of conduct has the motto “More light.”
In Louis Pasteur and Harold Clarence Ernst (trans), The Germ Theory and Its Application to Medicine and Surgery, Chap. 12. Reprinted in Charles W. Eliot (ed.), The Harvard Classics: Scientific Papers: Physiology, Medicine, Surgery, Geology (1897, 1910), Vol. 38, 401-402. Cited as read before French Academy of Science (20 Apr 1878), published in Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences, 84, 1037-43.
Science quotes on:  |  Conduct (31)  |  Contradiction (54)  |  Contribution (60)  |  Criticism (60)  |  Doubt (159)  |  Frivolous (3)  |  Ignorant (36)  |  Judgment (98)  |  Light (345)  |  Medicine (343)  |  Method (230)  |  Militant (2)  |  Motto (28)  |  Prejudice (66)  |  Principle (285)  |  Rule (173)  |  Tolerant (3)  |  Veterinary (2)  |  Welcome (10)

I ought to say that one of our first joint researches, so far as publication was concerned, had the peculiar effect of freeing me forever from the wiles of college football, and if that is a defect, make the most of it! Dr. Noyes and I conceived an idea on sodium aluminate solutions on the morning of the day of a Princeton-Harvard game (as I recall it) that we had planned to attend. It looked as though a few days' work on freezing-point determinations and electrical conductivities would answer the question. We could not wait, so we gave up the game and stayed in the laboratory. Our experiments were successful. I think that this was the last game I have ever cared about seeing. I mention this as a warning, because this immunity might attack anyone. I find that I still complainingly wonder at the present position of football in American education.
Address upon receiving the Perkin Medal Award, 'The Big Things in Chemistry', The Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry (Feb 1921), 13, No. 2, 162-163.
Science quotes on:  |  America (87)  |  Answer (249)  |  Care (95)  |  College (35)  |  Complaint (10)  |  Conductivity (3)  |  Defect (15)  |  Education (333)  |  Experiment (600)  |  Football (7)  |  Freezing Point (2)  |  Game (61)  |  Immunity (4)  |  Laboratory (131)  |  Position (75)  |  Publication (90)  |  Question (404)  |  Research (589)  |  Success (248)  |  Wait (57)  |  Warning (10)

I prefer rationalism to atheism. The question of God and other objects-of-faith are outside reason and play no part in rationalism, thus you don't have to waste your time in either attacking or defending.
In Isaac Asimov and Janet Asimov (ed.), It's Been a Good Life (2002), 21. Attribution uncertain. If you know an original print citation, please contact Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Atheism (8)  |  Defend (29)  |  Rationalism (3)  |  Reason (454)

In general … science per se does not increase the destructiveness of war, since, as a rule, it strengthens the defense as much as the attack.
In 'Boredom or Doom in a Scientific World', United Nations World (Sep 1948), Vol. 2, No. 8, 14.
Science quotes on:  |  Defense (18)  |  Destructiveness (2)  |  Increase (145)  |  Science (2043)  |  Strengthen (20)  |  War (161)

In science it is no crime to be wrong, unless you are (inappropriately) laying claim to truth. What matters is that science as a whole is a self-correcting mechanism in which both new and old notions are constantly under scrutiny. In other words, the edifice of scientific knowledge consists simply of a body of observations and ideas that have (so far) proven resistant to attack, and that are thus accepted as working hypotheses about nature.
In The Monkey in the Mirror: Essays on the Science of What Makes Us Human (2003), 9.
Science quotes on:  |  Claim (70)  |  Crime (26)  |  Hypothesis (249)  |  Idea (577)  |  Knowledge (1293)  |  Nature (1211)  |  New (483)  |  Notion (57)  |  Observation (445)  |  Old (147)  |  Resistant (2)  |  Science (2043)  |  Scrutiny (14)  |  Self-Correcting (2)  |  Truth (914)  |  Wrong (138)

Indeed, not all attacks—especially the bitter and ridiculing kind leveled at Darwin—are offered in good faith, but for practical purposes it is good policy to assume that they are.
From Dream to Discovery: On Being a Scientist (1964), 157
Science quotes on:  |  Assumption (58)  |  Bitter (14)  |  Charles Darwin (301)  |  Faith (157)  |  Policy (24)  |  Practical (129)  |  Purpose (193)  |  Ridicule (17)

Indeed, the most important part of engineering work—and also of other scientific work—is the determination of the method of attacking the problem, whatever it may be, whether an experimental investigation, or a theoretical calculation. … It is by the choice of a suitable method of attack, that intricate problems are reduced to simple phenomena, and then easily solved.
In Engineering Mathematics: A Series of Lectures Delivered at Union College (1911, 1917), Vol. 2, 275.
Science quotes on:  |  Calculation (98)  |  Choice (79)  |  Determination (57)  |  Ease (35)  |  Engineering (141)  |  Experiment (600)  |  Intricacy (7)  |  Investigation (175)  |  Method (230)  |  Phenomenon (276)  |  Problem (490)  |  Reduction (41)  |  Science (2043)  |  Simplicity (146)  |  Suitability (11)  |  Theory (690)  |  Work (626)

It has been proposed (in despair) to define mathematics as “what mathematicians do.” Only such a broad definition, it was felt, would cover all the things that might become embodied in mathematics; for mathematicians today attack many problems not regarded as mathematics in the past, and what they will do in the future there is no saying.
In 'The Extent of Mathematics', Prelude to Mathematics (1955), 11.
Science quotes on:  |  Become (172)  |  Broad (27)  |  Cover (37)  |  Define (49)  |  Definition (191)  |  Despair (27)  |  Embody (16)  |  Future (284)  |  Mathematician (364)  |  Mathematics (1149)  |  Past (150)  |  Problem (490)  |  Propose (23)  |  Regard (93)  |  Today (117)

It is popular to believe that the age of the individual and, above all, of the free individual, is past in science. There are many administrators of science and a large component of the general population who believe that mass attacks can do anything, and even that ideas are obsolete. Behind this drive to the mass attack there are a number of strong psychological motives. Neither the public or the big administrator has too good an understanding of the inner continuity of science, but they both have seen its world-shaking consequences, and they are afraid of it. Both of them wish to decerebrate the scientist, even as the Byzantine State emasculated its civil servants. Moreover, the great administrator who is not sure of his own intellectual level can aggrandize himself only by cutting his scientific employees down to size.
In I am a Mathematician (1956), Epilogue, 363-364.
Science quotes on:  |  Administrator (10)  |  Consequence (110)  |  Cutting (6)  |  Idea (577)  |  Individual (215)  |  Obsolete (10)  |  Psychology (143)  |  Size (60)

It was strangely like war. They attacked the forest as if it were an enemy to be pushed back from the beachheads, driven into the hills, broken into patches, and wiped out. Many operators thought they were not only making lumber but liberating the land from the trees...
[On the first logging of the U.S. Olympic Peninsula.]
The Last Wilderness (1955). In William Dietrich, The Final Forest: the Battle for the Last Great Trees of the Pacific Northwest (1992), 21.
Science quotes on:  |  Deforestation (43)  |  Driving (6)  |  Forest (107)  |  Hill (20)  |  Land (115)  |  Liberation (10)  |  Logging (3)  |  Lumber (5)  |  Operator (3)  |  Patch (7)  |  Strangeness (10)  |  Tree (170)  |  War (161)  |  Wipe Out (3)

Let people who have to observe sickness and death look back and try to register in their observation the appearances which have preceded relapse, attack or death, and not assert that there were none, or that there were not the right ones. A want of the habit of observing conditions and an inveterate habit of taking averages are each of them often equally misleading.
Notes on Nursing: What it is, and What it is Not (1860), 67.
Science quotes on:  |  Appearance (85)  |  Average (41)  |  Death (302)  |  Misleading (15)  |  Observation (445)  |  Register (10)  |  Relapse (3)  |  Sickness (22)

Mathematics in gross, it is plain, are a grievance in natural philosophy, and with reason…Mathematical proofs are out of the reach of topical arguments, and are not to be attacked by the equivocal use of words or declamation, that make so great a part of other discourses; nay, even of controversies.
In 'Mr Locke’s Reply to the Bishop of Worcester’s Answer to his Second Letter', collected in The Works of John Locke (1824), Vol. 3, 428.
Science quotes on:  |  Argument (81)  |  Controversy (20)  |  Discourse (18)  |  Mathematics (1149)  |  Natural Philosophy (28)  |  Nature Of Mathematics (77)  |  Proof (243)  |  Reason (454)  |  Word (299)

No one thinks of concealing the truth from a cardiac patient: there is nothing shameful about a heart attack. Cancer patients are lied to, not just because the disease is (or is thought to be) a death sentence, but because it is felt to be obscene—in the original meaning of that word: ill-omened, abominable, repugnant to the senses.
In Illness as a Metaphor (1978), 8,
Science quotes on:  |  Abominable (4)  |  Cancer (49)  |  Conceal (17)  |  Disease (275)  |  Feel (165)  |  Heart (139)  |  Lie (115)  |  Nothing (385)  |  Obscene (3)  |  Omen (2)  |  Patient (125)  |  Repugnant (4)  |  Sense (315)  |  Shameful (3)  |  Think (341)  |  Truth (914)

Objections … inspired Kronecker and others to attack Weierstrass’ “sequential” definition of irrationals. Nevertheless, right or wrong, Weierstrass and his school made the theory work. The most useful results they obtained have not yet been questioned, at least on the ground of their great utility in mathematical analysis and its implications, by any competent judge in his right mind. This does not mean that objections cannot be well taken: it merely calls attention to the fact that in mathematics, as in everything else, this earth is not yet to be confused with the Kingdom of Heaven, that perfection is a chimaera, and that, in the words of Crelle, we can only hope for closer and closer approximations to mathematical truth—whatever that may be, if anything—precisely as in the Weierstrassian theory of convergent sequences of rationals defining irrationals.
In Men of Mathematics (1937), 431-432.
Science quotes on:  |  Approximation (22)  |  Attention (115)  |  Chimera (8)  |  Close (66)  |  Competent (18)  |  Confuse (18)  |  Convergent (3)  |  Define (49)  |  Definition (191)  |  Earth (635)  |  Great (524)  |  Ground (90)  |  Hope (174)  |  Implication (22)  |  Inspire (49)  |  Irrational (12)  |  Judge (61)  |  Kingdom Of Heaven (2)  |  Leopold Kronecker (6)  |  Mathematical Analysis (12)  |  Mathematics (1149)  |  Objection (18)  |  Obtain (45)  |  Perfection (88)  |  Precise (33)  |  Question (404)  |  Rational (56)  |  Result (376)  |  Right (196)  |  School (117)  |  Sequence (41)  |  Sequential (2)  |  Theory (690)  |  Truth (914)  |  Useful (98)  |  Utility (33)  |  Karl Weierstrass (6)  |  Word (299)  |  Work (626)  |  Wrong (138)

Perhaps it is better in this present world of ours that a revolutionary idea or invention instead of being helped and patted be hampered and ill-treated in its adolescence—by want of means, by selfish interest, pedantry, stupidity and ignorance; that it be attacked and stifled; that it pass through bitter trials and tribulations, through the heartless strife of commercial existence. ... So all that was great in the past was ridiculed, condemned, combatted, suppressed—only to emerge all the more powerfully, all the more triumphantly from the struggle.
'The Transmission of Electrical Energy Without Wires As a Means for Furthering Peace', Electrical World and Engineer (7 Jan 1905), 24. Reproduced in John T. Ratzlaff, editor, Tesla Said (1984), 86. Also reprinted in Nikola Tesla, Miscellaneous Writings (2007), 58.
Science quotes on:  |  Bitter (14)  |  Commercial (26)  |  Condemnation (15)  |  Emerge (21)  |  Existence (296)  |  Hamper (4)  |  Help (101)  |  Idea (577)  |  Ignorance (213)  |  Invention (318)  |  Pedantry (5)  |  Revolutionary (16)  |  Ridicule (17)  |  Selfishness (8)  |  Stifle (5)  |  Strife (9)  |  Struggle (77)  |  Stupidity (34)  |  Trial (28)  |  Tribulation (2)  |  Triumph (45)

Science is one of our best weapons against authoritarianism, but authoritarianism has been known to surface among scientists. When this happens, misguided perfectionists or romanticists sometimes seek to root it out by attacking science. Instead of destroying science, which would merely return us to ignorance and superstition, what we need to do is to expose and root out the authoritarians.
In How to Tell the Liars from the Statisticians (1983), 129.
Science quotes on:  |  Destroy (80)  |  Expose (16)  |  Ignorance (213)  |  Perfectionist (3)  |  Romanticist (2)  |  Root Out (2)  |  Science (2043)  |  Superstition (56)  |  Weapon (66)

Scientists aren’t one tenth, nor one hundredth of one percent as silly as the asinine theory-hawking befuddlists who attack them.
Letter from London (20 Apr 1937), No. 81, in George Gaylord Simpson and Léo F. LaPorte (ed.), Simple Curiosity: Letters from George Gaylord Simpson to His Family, 1921-1970 (1987), 34.
Science quotes on:  |  Scientist (519)  |  Silly (12)  |  Theory (690)

Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.
Address to the US after hijack attacks on the US World Trade Centers and Pentagon, September 11, 2001
Science quotes on:  |  Act (115)  |  America (87)  |  American (46)  |  Big (48)  |  Buildings (4)  |  Foundation (105)  |  Resolve (19)  |  Shake (29)  |  Shatter (8)  |  Steel (17)  |  Terrorist (2)  |  Touch (76)

The history of mathematics may be instructive as well as agreeable; it may not only remind us of what we have, but may also teach us to increase our store. Says De Morgan, “The early history of the mind of men with regards to mathematics leads us to point out our own errors; and in this respect it is well to pay attention to the history of mathematics.” It warns us against hasty conclusions; it points out the importance of a good notation upon the progress of the science; it discourages excessive specialization on the part of the investigator, by showing how apparently distinct branches have been found to possess unexpected connecting links; it saves the student from wasting time and energy upon problems which were, perhaps, solved long since; it discourages him from attacking an unsolved problem by the same method which has led other mathematicians to failure; it teaches that fortifications can be taken by other ways than by direct attack, that when repulsed from a direct assault it is well to reconnoiter and occupy the surrounding ground and to discover the secret paths by which the apparently unconquerable position can be taken.
In History of Mathematics (1897), 1-2.
Science quotes on:  |  Agreeable (9)  |  Apparently (19)  |  Assault (11)  |  Attention (115)  |  Branch (102)  |  Conclusion (157)  |  Connect (30)  |  Augustus De Morgan (44)  |  Direct (82)  |  Discourage (9)  |  Discover (196)  |  Distinct (46)  |  Early (61)  |  Energy (214)  |  Error (275)  |  Excessive (10)  |  Failure (138)  |  Find (405)  |  Fortification (6)  |  Good (345)  |  Ground (90)  |  Hasty (6)  |  History (368)  |  History Of Mathematics (7)  |  Importance (216)  |  Increase (145)  |  Instruction (72)  |  Investigator (35)  |  Lead (158)  |  Link (41)  |  Long (172)  |  Mathematician (364)  |  Mathematics (1149)  |  Method (230)  |  Mind (743)  |  Notation (19)  |  Occupy (27)  |  Part (220)  |  Path (84)  |  Pay (43)  |  Point (122)  |  Point Out (8)  |  Position (75)  |  Possess (53)  |  Problem (490)  |  Progress (362)  |  Reconnoitre (2)  |  Regard (93)  |  Remind (13)  |  Repulse (2)  |  Respect (86)  |  Save (56)  |  Say (228)  |  Science (2043)  |  Secret (130)  |  Show (90)  |  Solve (76)  |  Specialization (17)  |  Store (21)  |  Student (201)  |  Study And Research In Mathematics (59)  |  Surround (29)  |  Teach (179)  |  Time (594)  |  Unconquerable (3)  |  Unexpected (36)  |  Unsolved (10)  |  Warn (5)  |  Waste (64)

The invention of the scientific method and science is, I'm sure we'll all agree, the most powerful intellectual idea, the most powerful framework for thinking and investigating and understanding and challenging the world around us that there is, and it rests on the premise that any idea is there to be attacked. If it withstands the attack then it lives to fight another day and if it doesn't withstand the attack then down it goes. Religion doesn't seem to work like that.
From impromptu speech at a Cambridge conference (1998). Quoted in Richard Dawkins, A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love (2004), 168. In Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time (2002), 141.
Science quotes on:  |  Challenge (61)  |  Fight (44)  |  Framework (20)  |  Idea (577)  |  Intellectual (120)  |  Invention (318)  |  Investigate (65)  |  Life (1124)  |  Premise (25)  |  Religion (239)  |  Science And Religion (302)  |  Scientific Method (166)  |  Thinking (231)  |  Understanding (325)  |  Withstand (3)  |  Work (626)  |  World (892)

The rocks have a history; gray and weatherworn, they are veterans of many battles; they have most of them marched in the ranks of vast stone brigades during the ice age; they have been torn from the hills, recruited from the mountaintops, and marshaled on the plains and in the valleys; and now the elemental war is over, there they lie waging a gentle but incessant warfare with time and slowly, oh, so slowly, yielding to its attacks!
Under the Apple-Trees (1916), 42.
Science quotes on:  |  Battle (34)  |  Brigade (3)  |  Elemental (3)  |  Gentle (7)  |  Gray (8)  |  Hill (20)  |  Ice Age (8)  |  Incessant (8)  |  March (23)  |  Marshal (4)  |  Mountaintop (2)  |  Plain (33)  |  Rank (32)  |  Recruit (2)  |  Rock (125)  |  Stone (76)  |  Tear (22)  |  Time (594)  |  Valley (22)  |  Vast (88)  |  War (161)  |  Warfare (6)  |  Yielding (2)

The teaching of elementary mathematics should be conducted so that the way should be prepared for the building upon them of the higher mathematics. The teacher should always bear in mind and look forward to what is to come after. The pupil should not be taught what may be sufficient for the time, but will lead to difficulties in the future. … I think the fault in teaching arithmetic is that of not attending to general principles and teaching instead of particular rules. … I am inclined to attack Teaching of Mathematics on the grounds that it does not dwell sufficiently on a few general axiomatic principles.
In John Perry (ed.), Discussion on the Teaching of Mathematics (1901), 33. The discussion took place on 14 Sep 1901 at the British Association at Glasgow, during a joint meeting of the mathematics and physics sections with the education section. The proceedings began with an address by John Perry. Professor Hudson was the first speak in the Discussion which followed.
Science quotes on:  |  Arithmetic (115)  |  Axiom (52)  |  Build (117)  |  Conduct (31)  |  Difficulty (144)  |  Dwell (15)  |  Elementary (45)  |  Fault (33)  |  Forward (36)  |  Future (284)  |  General (156)  |  Higher Mathematics (6)  |  Mathematics (1149)  |  Particular (75)  |  Prepare (34)  |  Principle (285)  |  Pupil (31)  |  Rule (173)  |  Sufficient (40)  |  Teach (179)  |  Teacher (119)  |  Teaching of Mathematics (31)

The treatises [of Archimedes] are without exception, monuments of mathematical exposition; the gradual revelation of the plan of attack, the masterly ordering of the propositions, the stern elimination of everything not immediately relevant to the purpose, the finish of the whole, are so impressive in their perfection as to create a feeling akin to awe in the mind of the reader.
In A History of Greek Mathematics (1921), Vol. 1, 20.
Science quotes on:  |  Archimedes (53)  |  Awe (33)  |  Create (150)  |  Elimination (18)  |  Exposition (13)  |  Feeling (91)  |  Finish (25)  |  Gradual (26)  |  Impressive (20)  |  Mathematics (1149)  |  Mind (743)  |  Monument (26)  |  Order (239)  |  Perfection (88)  |  Plan (87)  |  Proposition (80)  |  Purpose (193)  |  Reader (38)  |  Relevant (5)  |  Revelation (34)  |  Whole (189)  |  Work (626)

The way to do research is to attack the facts at the point of greatest astonishment.
In The Decline and Fall of Science (1976), 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Astonishment (23)  |  Fact (725)  |  Great (524)  |  Point (122)  |  Research (589)

Though we must not without further consideration condemn a body of reasoning merely because it is easy, nevertheless we must not allow ourselves to be lured on merely by easiness; and we should take care that every problem which we choose for attack, whether it be easy or difficult, shall have a useful purpose, that it shall contribute in some measure to the up-building of the great edifice.
From 'On Some Recent Tendencies in Geometric Investigation', Rivista di Matematica (1891), 63. In Bulletin American Mathematical Society (1904), 465.
Science quotes on:  |  Body (243)  |  Build (117)  |  Choose (59)  |  Condemn (13)  |  Consideration (85)  |  Contribute (26)  |  Difficult (116)  |  Easy (98)  |  Edifice (15)  |  Great (524)  |  Lure (7)  |  Merely (82)  |  Problem (490)  |  Purpose (193)  |  Reasoning (95)  |  Study And Research In Mathematics (59)  |  Useful (98)

To undertake a great work, and especially a work of a novel type, means carrying out an experiment. It means taking up a struggle with the forces of nature without the assurance of emerging as the victor of the first attack.
As quoted in Hans Straub and Erwin Rockwell (trans.), A History of Civil Engineering: An Outline From Ancient to Modern Times (1952), 157-158. Translated from Die Geschickte der Bauingenieurkunst (1949).
Science quotes on:  |  Assurance (12)  |  Emerge (21)  |  Engineering (141)  |  Experiment (600)  |  First (313)  |  Force Of Nature (5)  |  Great (524)  |  Novel (19)  |  Struggle (77)  |  Undertake (20)  |  Victor (5)  |  Work (626)

We have been scourged by invisible thongs, attacked from impenetrable ambuscades, and it is only to-day that the light of science is being let in upon the murderous dominion of our foes.
From Lecture (19 Oct 1876) to the Glasgow Science Lectures Association, 'Fermentation, and its Bearings on the Phenomena of Disease,' printed in The Fortnightly Review (1 Nov 1876), 26 N.S., No. 119, 572.
Science quotes on:  |  Dominion (10)  |  Foe (7)  |  Impenetrable (5)  |  Invisible (38)  |  Light (345)  |  Science (2043)  |  Scourge (3)  |  Throng (3)  |  Today (117)

We must protect each other against the attacks of those self-appointed watchdogs of patriotism now abroad in the land who irresponsibly pin red labels on anyone whom they wish to destroy. ... [Academic professionals are the only person competant to differentiate between honest independents and the Communists.] This is our responsibility. It is not a pleasant task. But if it is left to outsiders, the distinction is not likely to be made and those independent critics of social institutions among us who are one of the glories of a true university could be silenced.
As quoted by William L. Laurence in 'Professors Urged to Guard Freedom', New York Times (19 Sep 1952), 17.
Science quotes on:  |  Appointment (5)  |  Communist (6)  |  Critic (20)  |  Destroy (80)  |  Distinction (44)  |  Glory (57)  |  Institution (39)  |  Irresponsibility (5)  |  Label (11)  |  Like (21)  |  Outsider (6)  |  Patriotism (6)  |  Pin (6)  |  Pleasant (20)  |  Protect (33)  |  Red (35)  |  Responsibility (55)  |  Self (47)  |  Silence (43)  |  Social (108)  |  Task (83)  |  University (80)

You have read my writings, and from them you have certainly understood which was the true and real motive that caused, under the lying mask of religion, this war against me that continually restrains and undercuts me in all directions, so that neither can help come to me from outside nor can I go forth to defend myself, there having been issued an express order to all Inquisitors that they should not allow any of my works to be reprinted which had been printed many years ago or grant permission to any new work that I would print. … a most rigorous and general order, I say, against all my works, omnia et edenda; so that it is left to me only to succumb in silence under the flood of attacks, exposures, derision, and insult coming from all sides.
Science quotes on:  |  Allow (44)  |  Defend (29)  |  Derision (7)  |  Exposure (7)  |  Express (63)  |  Flood (36)  |  Grant (32)  |  Inquisitor (6)  |  Insult (10)  |  Order (239)  |  Permission (7)  |  Print (17)  |  Restrain (6)  |  Science And Religion (302)  |  Silence (43)  |  Succumb (5)  |  Year (299)

[N]o scientist likes to be criticized. … But you don’t reply to critics: “Wait a minute, wait a minute; this is a really good idea. I’m very fond of it. It’s done you no harm. Please don’t attack it.” That's not the way it goes. The hard but just rule is that if the ideas don't work, you must throw them away. Don't waste any neurons on what doesn’t work. Devote those neurons to new ideas that better explain the data. Valid criticism is doing you a favor.
In 'Wonder and Skepticism', Skeptical Enquirer (Jan-Feb 1995), 19, No. 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Better (190)  |  Critic (20)  |  Criticism (60)  |  Explanation (177)  |  Favor (30)  |  Fondness (7)  |  Good (345)  |  Harm (37)  |  Idea (577)  |  Neuron (9)  |  Reply (25)  |  Rule (173)  |  Scientist (519)  |  Validity (31)  |  Wait (57)  |  Waste (64)

[The famous attack of Sir William Hamilton on the tendency of mathematical studies] affords the most express evidence of those fatal lacunae in the circle of his knowledge, which unfitted him for taking a comprehensive or even an accurate view of the processes of the human mind in the establishment of truth. If there is any pre-requisite which all must see to be indispensable in one who attempts to give laws to the human intellect, it is a thorough acquaintance with the modes by which human intellect has proceeded, in the case where, by universal acknowledgment, grounded on subsequent direct verification, it has succeeded in ascertaining the greatest number of important and recondite truths. This requisite Sir W. Hamilton had not, in any tolerable degree, fulfilled. Even of pure mathematics he apparently knew little but the rudiments. Of mathematics as applied to investigating the laws of physical nature; of the mode in which the properties of number, extension, and figure, are made instrumental to the ascertainment of truths other than arithmetical or geometrical—it is too much to say that he had even a superficial knowledge: there is not a line in his works which shows him to have had any knowledge at all.
In Examination of Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy (1878), 607.
Science quotes on:  |  Accurate (32)  |  Acknowledgment (11)  |  Acquaintance (22)  |  Afford (16)  |  Apparently (19)  |  Apply (76)  |  Arithmetical (11)  |  Ascertain (15)  |  Ascertainment (2)  |  Attempt (121)  |  Case (98)  |  Comprehensive (16)  |  Degree (81)  |  Direct (82)  |  Establishment (34)  |  Evidence (181)  |  Express (63)  |  Extension (30)  |  Famous (9)  |  Figure (68)  |  Fulfill (19)  |  Geometrical (10)  |  Give (200)  |  Great (524)  |  Ground (90)  |  Hamilton (2)  |  Human Intellect (10)  |  Human Mind (80)  |  Important (202)  |  Indispensable (27)  |  Instrumental (5)  |  Investigate (65)  |  Know (547)  |  Knowledge (1293)  |  Law (513)  |  Line (89)  |  Little (184)  |  Mathematicians and Anecdotes (123)  |  Mathematics (1149)  |  Mode (40)  |  Nature (1211)  |  Number (276)  |  Physical (129)  |  Prerequisite (6)  |  Proceed (41)  |  Process (261)  |  Property (123)  |  Pure Mathematics (63)  |  Recondite (5)  |  Requisite (10)  |  Rudiment (4)  |  Say (228)  |  See (369)  |  Show (90)  |  Study (461)  |  Subsequent (19)  |  Succeed (26)  |  Superficial (11)  |  Tendency (54)  |  Thorough (17)  |  Tolerable (2)  |  Truth (914)  |  Unfitted (3)  |  Universal (100)  |  Verification (27)  |  View (171)  |  Work (626)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Visit our Science and Scientist Quotations index for more Science Quotes from archaeologists, biologists, chemists, geologists, inventors and inventions, mathematicians, physicists, pioneers in medicine, science events and technology.

Names index: | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Categories index: | 1 | 2 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton



who invites your feedback
Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.